A plan to share services and management at Wellington's three district health boards is picking up pace, with the Hutt Valley chief executive taking up the top role at Wairarapa.
Graham Dyer will split his time between the two DHBs, spending two days a week at each and one day on regional and national business.
Wairarapa chief executive Tracey Adamson announced last month that she was not interested in the job, citing personal reasons.
The shared role is another step in the 3DHB programme that will see the amalgamation of senior management teams in the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa, and closer links with Capital & Coast.
The mergers would inevitably lead to back-office job cuts, Mr Dyer said. "We have a number of people on short-term contracts, where we expect there will be some consolidation."
It was a "bit early" to say how many jobs would be axed.
"The governance structure and accountability of the board doesn't change at all. What it's saying is can we rationalise processes, management and administration roles between the two boards."
Two new roles have been filled since the 3DHB plan was announced in October. Ashley Bloomfield will head a new unit that brings together the three former planning and funding teams, and Carolyn Cooper will be the executive director of people and culture for the three DHBs.
The partnership comes after two years' work by a group of clinical leaders and managers from the three boards. The changes are intended to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care, and have mostly been driven by doctors.
Prominent plastic surgeon Swee Tan, who was also part of the leadership group, said last month that there were "a lot of frustrations" within the system. But better integration would mean specialised services would become more available.
"The boards are singing from the same hymn," he said. "To me, this is the greatest Christmas present for our combined population."
There are no plans to have one chief executive for all three DHBs, or for the boards to merge.
However, closer ties have been made through board members sitting on neighbouring boards, including Virginia Hope, who chairs the boards at Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley.
Wairarapa board chairman Bob Francis began sitting on Capital & Coast's board this year.
- The Dominion Post
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